A historical expense tracker is essential because it will give you accurate information to build your monthly budget.
Where is all of your money going? If you’re reading this and can’t answer that question, I’m glad you’re here.
For those new to budgeting or if you already use a budget but are struggling to make it work, tracking historical expenses might be your answer.
I tend not to get overly wordy with finance on CBB because I like to keep the blog understandable for people new to budgeting.
Today, I will explain what a historical expense tracker is, and for blog subscribers, you can download and print it for your budget binder for free.
Where Is Your Money Going?
How many of you can tell yourself that you know where all your money is going?
If you can’t answer that question, you’ve put yourself in a spot of uncertainty with your finances.
Years ago, before we created our budget, we didn’t think to use a historical expense tracker.
What we did is what most people would do and that tracks current expenses to build an accurate budget.
Although we still stand by the method of tracking three months of expenses to build a budget, you don’t have to wait so long.
The only two reasons why you would want to build a budget tracking using present data are;
- Your financial situation has changed
- You don’t have historical data to pull from
Over the years, Mrs. CBB and I have discussed the value of historical expenses for creating a budget.
When I blogged about creating a mock monthly budget that included a mortgage, that’s where the idea of historical data came to fruition.
The idea revolved around seeing whether the user could handle a mortgage and everything that came with owning a house before buying a home.
If you think about creating a budget using three months of historical data works just as well for someone new to budgeting.
Often, when humans are told to be patient or to wait, we become antsy and want to know now, not tomorrow.
The same is valid with budgeting, especially for those who want to create an accurate budget without tracking forward.
So, you probably want to know the CBB Historical Expense Tracker details.
To be transparent, we wish we had tracked historical and current data when we started budgeting.
At the end of each year, we tally up our expenses for each budget category and divide them by 12 months to get our historical data.
This information helps us create our new year’s monthly budget at the end of December.
Budget Numbers Will Change
Keep in mind that budget numbers will change when;
- Increase earnings such as an income raise, passive income, second job, extra income, or marriage.
- Decrease in earnings such as a lost job, death, divorce, child support, etc.
- Increased expenses such as bills, property taxes, rent, mortgage, or other related expenses
- Debt-free, such as having extra money to invest.
- We are incurring more debt such as credit card debt, loans, personal loans, etc.
For example, if your hydro bill increases by $15 a month, this needs to be reflected in your budget immediately.
Don’t wait until the end of the year to review the budget to make changes, do them as you go along.
You need to know where your money is going every step of the way.
What Is A Historical Expense Tracker?
Using a Historical Expense Tracker to build a budget is the most crucial step toward accuracy by documenting where your money was spent.
You probably never thought you’d go backward to create a monthly budget but trust me, this exercise is a valuable tool.
Most people who use a budget create wonky numbers in their heads based on the income they take home also called net income.
We used to be that type of person but soon realized after starting this blog that it was a massive mistake.
Put feelings about money aside and concentrate on yourself or you and your family.
There is always a way to save a few dollars each month if you have a working budget.
Using the free historical tracking sheet printable as a subscriber is the beginning of your budget journey.
Although many other simple steps involving historical figures give the user a massive headstart with budgeting.
Let’s move on to the steps involved with using a historical expense tracker.
How To Use A Historical Expense Tracker
Although this is an optional step in the budgeting process, it can be a winning step forward.
Our Canadian Budget Binder is full of printables we’ve created and track monthly, weekly, or yearly.
Filling out paperwork each month and budgeting may seem like a bit of work but aren’t you worth it?
The historical expense tracker is easy, provided you have the needed data.
Obtaining Data For The Historical Expense Tracker
Data to help obtain budget accuracy you might use would be any of the following:
- Banking expense information for the past three months
- Credit Card Statements for the past three months
- Bill statements
- Current budget History or budgeting app that you use (if you use one)
- Cash expenses tracker (I’ll create one of these soon, but it would be for anyone who tracks where their cash went.)
- Amazon Canada order history or other online websites you spend money on
- Paypal history
- Pharmacy expense history (ask your pharmacy to print a list) or medical expenses tracking printable.
Wherever you can draw data for expenses from the previous three months will benefit the accuracy of your monthly budget.
Otherwise, wait it out and track expenses moving forward to create an accurate monthly budget.
You can either print or save the historical expense tracker and start by adding the date at the top.
Below are examples of what you can include in the header boxes next to the date.
- Debt Repayment
These are budget categories; if you need two historical tracking sheets for one month, print or save the form twice.
At the end of each month, tally up the expenses for each budget category.
Divide that number by three, and you’ll have an accurate picture of your future expenses.
For example, Groceries for March are $500, April $580, and May $325 = $1405/ 3= $468.33 each month on average spent for groceries.
Building A Monthly Budget
Once you have your historical data, you’re ready to begin reading Budgeting for Beginners from A to Z if you are new to budgeting.
Using my 10-Step Mini Budgeting Series take your time working through the process to build a monthly budget.
I will have a complete online step-by-step instruction manual soon but don’t wait for me.
Time And Effort Is Your Best Investment
If there’s one thing I want you to remember about budgeting if it’s the only thing is that you are worth it.
Investing in your financial health as accurately as possible is the most significant investment you can invest in.
People who have become millionaires or debt-free didn’t get there by mismanaging their money.
They know where their money is going and what they need to do to increase wealth.
Knowing and doing are two different vibes where one is knowledge, and the other is effort.
Use both of these tools to your advantage if you want to be the next person in line to become debt-free.
Working towards financial goals comes with a price, and that’s your time and effort.
Failure to use both tools will result in what you get being what you put into it.
I’ll leave you with that for now, and as always, please subscribe to the blog, so you don’t miss any of my upcoming blog posts.
Discussion: How many of you used a historical tracker to build your budget? How many used three to six months of expense tracking to create a budget?
Please leave me your comments and experiences below.
Thanks for stopping by,
Subscribe To Canadian Budget Binder
Subscribe To the Canadian Budget Binder And Get My Exclusive CBB Emergency Binder FREE!